Category Archives: Psychology

The logic of not giving a F…

Have you ever listened to someone’s logic and found it completely illogical? I have. Many times. Just enter my mind and you’ll have the most logically proven illogical ideas floating about. 

You see, as humans, we support our own logic based on anecdotal stories, beliefs, opinions, experience…you name it. What seems logical to us, is, in fact, completely and utterly illogical. 

Here, let’s do an example. 

I have two people in my life who don’t like seatbelts. Both claim it’s because they grew up in Africa and they love the freedom of driving without a seatbelt. Plus, they believe when your time is come, your time is come. So why bother with a seatbelt in the first place? 

Let’s imagine these two going bungee jumping. They have a choice between two companies offering bungee jumps. One has a sign reading: 

Bungee Jumps Offered Daily. 5 Out of 100 People Die as Ropes Sometimes Break. 10 Out of 100 Get Injured Due to Bad Quality Ropes.

Bungee Jumps Offered Daily. 100% Secure. No Deaths. No Injuries Caused by Equipment. 

Now, what company do you think they’d choose? 

It’s the same thing as wearing, or not wearing a seatbelt. Every day there are accidents on the road. Every day someone dies, or get injured. If you wear a seatbelt, chances of death and injury are less. If you’re in an accident wearing a seatbelt, you may end up with whiplash. Without it, you may end up with severe brain damage. Your choice. 

Our subjective realities constantly blind us to logic. 

Another favorite of mine: I drive better when I’m drunk. The proof? I’ve only had accidents when sober.

If we drive better when drunk, then science would long ago have proven that our ability to react is much better when drunk. On the contrary, it’s proven the opposite. 

It’s like saying: I have only had accidents after eating peanut butter sandwiches, therefore, peanut butter sandwiches cause accidents. Sure enough, if you believe it, you may start driving more erratically after eating them… But it isn’t the truth. It only become true if you let your mind act on the belief. 

The real truth is, we all have these things we believe to be true because we have stories and beliefs backing them up. And as is the case with drunk driving, some examples are pretty extreme. You’re willing to risk your own and other people’s lives because you believe in your own story. 

Similarly, look at the story about “who you are.” Look at me. As a kid my mom died and I felt she rejected me before she died. Then I had to move classes a few years later due to circumstance and I was put in a class where I got picked on. I went from popular to nerd over night. Then I got a step-mom who emotionally abused me. 

Now, that added up to me thinking there was something wrong with me. I thought that was a logical conclusion. I was rejected, therefore there was something wrong with me. Logical, right?! Is that the truth though? No. It’s not the truth. But I believed it, so I acted on it and my way of dealing with it was hiding away. I became shy. Very shy. Wouldn’t speak unless spoken to. 

Being shy was a protection mechanism. I literally remember thinking I wasn’t going to let them see my real self, therefore they couldn’t reject the real me. If I just disappeared, they couldn’t judge me. And moving forward, I became the person who didn’t speak. Therefore, I became rejected. That meant that I could hold onto the belief that there was something wrong with me.

In short, I was the person believing peanut butter sandwiches cause accidents and therefore driving erratically.  

I also had coping mechanisms. Like reading stories and escaping into another world and I practiced my skills to receive praise, so even if I couldn’t be loved, I could be admired. Fleeing into imaginary worlds and receiving admiration became my drugs. That then fell apart when I didn’t go onto becoming a world famous director straight out of school, but had to work odd jobs. I ended up depressed as hell, reached rock bottom and learned that actually, I didn’t have to achieve anything to love and accept myself, or be loved and accepted. All I had to do was open up. 

That was the first time in years I started to feel like I didn’t have a gaping hole inside myself. The first time since my mother died, I suppose. 

The thing is, not everyone change their story. They just keep doing things to back it up. Keep proving to themselves they’re right. 

I was having an argument with an addict recently. My argument? Get help. Their argument? “I’m not ready, I’m waiting for “my moment,” plus right now I prefer being an addict. It makes me feel good for now. But it’s OK. I’ll be OK in the end. Because I wasn’t born an addict so I won’t die an addict.”

If you have ever been around addicts or read literature on it, you know that addicts use stories to support their addiction. And those stories are controlled by the addiction, not their real selves. Just like my actions used to be controlled by a story I made up about myself, not my real self. I was shy, because I believed in that story. I became rejected because I was shy, which proved my story to be true. I sought to achieve massive things in life to relieve the pain of that story. That was my addiction. And I sacrificed a ton of things for that addiction. 

Usually addicts sacrifice a lot. They give up on doing everything they love or do significantly less of it, they’re neglecting relationships, they stop caring for their own health, they no longer hold themselves to the same moral standards they used to and they either isolate themselves, or surround themselves with people who enable their habit. In short, they’re slowly ruining all areas of their life (sometimes they manage to keep one area decently clean, depending on importance, such as a job that enables them to buy drugs is far more important than friends, for example) and putting the drug of choice in center stage. The drug slowly becomes more important than anything else.

I’ve spoken to people in recovery about this. How the drug is always right. If getting the drug means not seeing your child, then you don’t see your child. If getting the drug means stealing, then you steal. If getting the drug means lying, then you lie. Whatever it takes to get the drug/get high, is justified. It becomes the new logic. Because it’s the only thing that makes them feel good. 

From the outside, it’s lunacy. For them, it’s totally logical. They feel good. They’re fine. Their bodies are shutting down. They’re living in squalor. They’re fine. Because they have their drug. 

Of course, they have moments of clarity, but it’s fine. It’s all fine, because they’re in control. When they want to get well again they will. They can handle it. 

Their logic is completely fucked. And they can’t see it. Because there’s always an excuse, or an argument backing up their story. 

Hopefully, one day they break a hard limit. They do something that make them wake the fuck up. Like you know, the religious person stealing from a church to buy drugs. Or, like me, they hit rock bottom emotionally. The turning point. The place where they know they’ve sunk so low the only way is up. But some people, sadly, never stumble across such a thing.

The thing is, we all have addictions, or if you so like, do things because they’re supported by stories we tell ourselves. Like me hiding away in a corner, which was supported by the story that I had something wrong with me and couldn’t be liked/loved. And by hiding away in a corner, I got reject, which provided my story to be true. But I also had a story that I could be admired for my skills and hard work and, to some degree, my acquired personality. That was my drug — I used work as a coping mechanism. To me achievement was my drug. 

My life fell apart when I thought I couldn’t be admired. When my drug of choice was removed as I was outside the school system, where I’d always been admired. That’s when I faced my truth. That’s when I realized I could be happy without achievement. 

The thing with any kind of addiction, or coping mechanism, is that it’s us acting on our emotions. Like I feel unloved and believe I can’t be loved which hurts, let’s do something to get admired which feels good. Temporarily. Once the high is over, you’ll end up feeling empty again. Same thing if you use sex as a coping mechanism (a drug) when wanting love. And by doing it, you only prove to yourself that you can’t be loved. That you can only be admired, or only get sex, so you feel even worse. But as you still hold onto the idea you can’t be loved, what are you going to do? Have more of your drug, of course! 

When the emotional brain takes over, we fuck up. We become illogical. We rationalize behavior that’s completely and utterly illogical. 

When we act on our feelings we end up fucking ourselves over five ways to Friday.

If you’re feeling unloved, the logical thing is to deal with the root cause of it and realize it isn’t true, instead of chasing an Oscar (that would be me). That’s why people who win Oscars become depressed — they realize they still don’t feel loved. They’re still empty. All they did was relieve their tension by getting admiration. The real problem is still there. 

If you’re feeling stressed, the logical thing is to deal with the cause of the stress (such as a heavy workload), not watch Netflix (and the next day have an even heavier workload). 

If you’re feeling sad, the logical thing to do is to deal with the cause of your sadness and fill your life with happiness and genuine connection, not have a drink and the next day still have the sadness, plus the reality of having wasted a night drinking. 

When you feel things — impulses to do certain things — it’s a good idea to ask yourself a) is this part of a pattern of mine and if so, has that pattern led to me achieving great things? b) will this really lead to the end result I desire? c) what place am I acting from? Principle or feeling? If it’s principle, you’re acting from a place of integrity — doing the right thing. If it’s feeling, you’re likely trying to resolve your tension, unless the feeling is coming from your heart. If you can’t hear your heart, act from principle. Your heart would tell you to do right by yourself and others. So does principle. 

Another test is this: will this lead to genuine happiness? Will this serve my health? Will this serve my soul? Will this serve other people? Coping mechanisms will make you feel good while destroying your life. Genuinely good things will make you feel good while making your life better.

Will you be held hostage by your own emotions, or will you create the life you’d truly love to live?

In short, sometimes, not giving a fuck about your own emotions is a very good idea. 

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Filed under achievement, addiction, depression, Happiness, Psychology, Self-help, The Mind

To a beautiful soul…

Tomorrow’s blog will be all whips and chains. You know, a kick in the ass before the weekend. I like those Kicks up the ass.. The harder you kick, the more I’ll fight. The bigger the challenge, the greater my enthusiasm. Some people want offers they can’t resist. Personally, I tend to go for challenges I can’t resist.

I’ve thought about that a lot lately. I like to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I thrive on challenges. I love discipline. The harder you hit me, the higher I rise.

I’m never gonna stop loving challenges I don’t think. They’re addictive. Adrenaline fueled adventures into the unknown. Or simply running as fast as I can until I get high on endorphins. Try talking to me after a run and a cup of coffee. I will be delirious with happiness and overcome by enthusiasm.

The thing is, how I treat people is greatly the same as my father did: I give practical tips and enforce discipline. Often, I just wanted him to hug me and say it’ll be OK. Now, I’m the one dishing out “for fuck’s sake (wo)man up and change your life.” I don’t lovingly support people. I tell them to wake the fuck up and sort their shit out.

That’s how I treat myself as well. And in some ways, it’s really effective. Holding a gun to my head and telling myself to move, to do something — anything — to sort out whatever problem at hand, or rise higher in life, works pretty well at times. It’s just, when I need a hug, a helping hand, a caress, a pat on the back…I don’t know what to do. I think I’ve gotten better at it. Better at self-care. Better at asking for help. Better at allowing people to hold me, without me simultaneously telling them what my failures are. What I can get better at.

It’s just…you’re a beautiful soul you know. You sparkle and glitter. You’ve got kindness and love twinkling away in your heart. Maybe you’ve fallen on the ground a couple of times. Maybe you’re still lying on the ground. Maybe you can’t get up…maybe you’re crawling. But you’re still beautiful. You have gold speckles covering your body. Divinity floating about you in a cloud. Maybe you can’t access that right now. Maybe your mind is broken. Maybe your body too. But your heart and soul are intact. They always will be. You just need to find your way back to them if your life currently isn’t true to them. If your life is not a reflection of who you truly are deep inside. Allow yourself to recognize that you are love. You are divine. You’re no less, no more, than the person next to you. Life shaped you one way or another. That’s all. Inside of you are still all the wonders of the world and some. You’re beautiful. And maybe I’m not great at telling you that, because, well, I’m more prone to kick your ass, but I still see you, you know. I see the miracle that is you. And that’s why I’m here. Not because you’re broken, but because you’re whole. Because you are a heart and a soul. All the rest is just the topping.

Yin and yang. We need discipline. We need structures that hold us accountable to our highest self. But we also need love. We need someone who recognizes the divine in us. The purity that can be found within our soul. The love that exists there, even if it’s buried under a hundred layers of sorrow or hatred. Underneath all that is a diamond waiting to shine. You are that diamond. So am I. We are all beautiful.

Beyond our failures and achievements is a person — a heart and a soul — waiting to be seen. Someone who just is. I usually find that person by the ocean. A girl with her feet in the sand, or sea. Just a woman standing there. Not a failure. Not an achievement. No, just a heart and a soul, with her toes in the ocean. And that, that is the woman I want to be seen for. And that, that heart and soul, is who I see in you.

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Filed under diary, Friendship, Heart, Love, Psychology, relationships, Soul, Uncategorized

Getting naked with Socrates…

I’ve been working on copy related to researching ancient history and wisdom lately. This spurs thoughts. Thoughts and I are like a runaway train — once I get going, I keep moving. Which is why I’m spewing out blogs at an unnatural rate for someone who really doesn’t have much time for blogging. It’s also due to a lot of events, trauma and emotional upheaval in the past couple of months, as well as meetings spurring thought. You can’t always spew your thoughts out at the poor people who instigated them. But I tend to chew over what people say. Particularly if it relates to a problem. And I have to unload somewhere. This is my unloading place. The place where I dump my thoughts. Sometimes unceremoniously, sometimes with a lot of bravado. I like entertainment, after all. Which is why I apply outrageous headlines and a lot of humor from time to time.

So this time it’s about Socrates. He asked questions. I’ve been thinking about that lately as someone told me they don’t like taking direction. Good philosophers, psychologists, coaches and leaders ask questions. They let people reach their own conclusions. Often they may guide them towards answers, rather than asking questions they have no clue where they will lead, but still: they ask questions.

Since I was a kid, I’d analyze people. Whether intuitively, intellectually, or both. Then I’d randomly blurt out my conclusions: often a pain point and its potential solution.

Then I studied acting and directing: I learned to break down scripts so as to figure out the thoughts behind the characters’ actions. From there I learned to break down the characters so as to be able to recreate their pasts that had led to these thoughts.

Through all of this I learned not just to understand others, but to understand myself. I understood the thoughts we think, where they come from and why we think them. Hence, I came to understand why I have the emotions I have. It’s due to my thoughts. However, it did not teach me how to change them. Not really.

While awareness tends to lead to a level of change, it doesn’t change everything. Being aware of a destructive pattern AND why you formed it, isn’t necessarily enough to change it.

You have to be willing to face yourself and the pain that comes with that to create change, but while that may help you let go of some things, it doesn’t change everything. Until you face something, you keep it bottled up. That means it’s still there. People are scared of facing pain, but by suppressing it they actually cause so much more pain, because they don’t let it go.

I always imagine this as a house: if something bad happens you let in a storm wind. You can try and contain that wind in one room by locking it in. Preferably far away from you, so maybe in the basement. But the wind is still rattling around in there. If you open the door to the basement and then to the garden, you’ll face the wind, you’ll feel its destructive force, but then it is released. It’s gone.

On the flip side of the coin, some people get stuck and revel in their own past/pain and, thus, also get stuck in it.

The thing is, releasing pain isn’t always enough. Because it’s usually attached to a coping mechanism that causes havoc. For example, when I get stressed I read, or binge watch netflix to escape from my own thoughts, but when I wake up the next day I have even more stress because instead of dealing with my to-do list, I was lost in a story.

If I’d taken ten minutes to meditate, or go for a walk, to deal with my stress and then tackled the to-do list, I’d been much further along and had LESS stress the next day.

In other words, you have to replace a dysfunctioning pattern with a functioning one. Let’s say someone overeats. They face the pain that is causing them to choose unhealthy and too much food to numb their pain. They’re willing to let go of their pain. But if they have no idea of what healthy foods are, or how to eat healthily (such as eating before your blood sugar tanks), they may very well not function properly anyway.

Plus, even if you let go of pain, stress, or whatever else is causing you inner turmoil, you’ll always face it again. And either you’ll relapse into the dysfunctional pattern to relieve your anguish, or you’ll use another one.

As Russell Brand said in his book Recovery: someone told him heroin saved his life. It was his coping mechanism. But it was a coping mechanism that was killing him, as well as destroying his social life, finances and work. Dealing with whatever made him use heroin in the first place AND finding better coping mechanisms led to him becoming clean. And as he also said: if a heroin addict can do it, so can you. That gave me hope. Because we all have unhealthy patterns, be it around finances, eating, drinking, work, exercise, relationships, or whatever else it may be.

My point though, is that my sterile approach in the past of serving people uncomfortable truths doesn’t work, beyond a possible wakeup call. You have to direct them towards something else. And love is the bridge to that.

Alan Kazdin, of the Yale Parenting Center, has, through studies around the world, come to the conclusion that punishment does little to facilitate change. Disregarding bad behavior, or giving someone a small consequence, while paying a lot of attention to and encouraging good behavior, leads to the biggest changes in a child. He even does things like workshopping tantrums. If a child throws severe tantrums, hitting adults, etc. he workshops the child through tantrums where it doesn’t hit, then praises that. He replaces one behavior with another and the bridge is love and encouragement from the parent. Once you’ve locked down having a “normal” tantrum, you can move onto having less of a tantrum, no tantrum and doing really well.

You replace one dysfunctional coping mechanism with a less dysfunctional coping mechanism until you can get to a great coping mechanism. One that actually helps you face the real problem. Such as how to handle distress.

Positive reenforcement has been used with great results on addicts, as well as in the workplace. It makes sense. When people resent you, they’re not very willing to do something that pleases you. The more you nag, punish and degrade, the less they will be willing to do what you want them to do. Also, the more you look down on them and punish them, the more you encourage their self-hatred and destructive patterns.

Actions have consequences. That needs to be shown. But giving attention to negative behavior and punishing it does not change the behavior.

Knowing this doesn’t always mean you can implement it. I failed in my own home. I raise a child on the autism spectrum who has PDA. He’s violent. He’s abusive. I was at the point where I was spending money I didn’t have to have nannies 24/7 as it wasn’t possible to be alone with him. And I was furious with myself because I reacted to his behavior, but imagine waking up to a child who is verbally and physically abusive 50% of the time and you never know when you’ll be hit next. And I didn’t have a controlled environment. He started attaching the neighbors children, his siblings, the dogs, the furniture and me.

When my child’s anxiety kicks in, and it’s been high lately, he tries to control his environment with violence. This is a destructive coping mechanism. PDA lends itself to this kind of aggressive behavior, but he was further raised in a house with his biological family where there was domestic violence and so his behavior is on another level.

I’ve now had to temporarily place him with his grandmother and a number of other people living in that household, and put professionals in place on top of the psychologists to try to help him to the point where it’s possible to have him at home again. This isn’t ideal, but neither I, nor his siblings, could live in fear anymore. Understanding and therefore loving someone doesn’t mean you can handle their abuse, or control your own emotions when subjected to it. And I’ve been all over looking for help from social services, schools, therapists…the list goes on. I wanted a controlled environment for him where Kazdin’s methods could be implemented but I can’t find one. And I’m out of money for having nannies 24/7 and even with that in place the situation was horrible. When I had a stomach bug and fever last weekend the toddler concerned asked me if his brother had “broken my head,” because of the violence. He had already moved to his grandmother at this point, but that alone was a horrifying thing to hear a toddler say.

I’ve had hell with the situation at home and I’ve felt ashamed about it too. I was caught in a catch 22 where we I couldn’t give up on the child, nor expose myself or his siblings to abuse. Plus not having the finances to, you know, ship Alan Kazdin over. In the end myself, his nannies and psychologist worked out a plan forward. I do think it’s important to talk about these things. Because what I experienced at home with a child, some experience with an adult.

This kind of coping mechanism (trying to control your environment using violence) is different from coping mechanisms to deal with inner pain from past trauma, current emotional stress, etc. in that it is a form of manipulation. This person isn’t just trying to handle their inner distress, but the distress they feel relating to people. Other coping mechanisms related to controlling relationships might be anger, extreme helplessness, crying hysterically, bullying, hiding away, pleasing, or threats to leave or stop loving someone. None is healthy. Expressing how you feel and learning to also see past your emotions, is a lot healthier. For example, my child fears not being loved to the point where he can’t handle any attention given to any other child. But he is loved. His emotions, based on his interpretations of past and present experiences, are telling him he isn’t though. And he acts on those emotions. They aren’t real, but he thinks they are. He’s created a world where he thinks he’s unloved and does anything to prove it to be true. 

Till this day I still have a hard time not telling people what their thoughts are, why they’re acting the way they’re doing, and to sort their shit out. Or what their patterns and coping mechanisms are and to sort their shit out. But it doesn’t work beyond the initial wakeup call. For some that might be enough, just as being thrown in a prison cell may be enough to wake someone up. But as Socrates discovered so long ago, you often get further by asking questions than spelling things out. And as Kazdin discovered, behavior isn’t changed by telling someone what’s wrong, but by showing them what’s right. By encouraging them and making them feel good doing the right thing. This, in turn, will help them love themselves, which I think, really, is the cornerstone of great behavioral patterns. Because once you love yourself, you act in ways that serve you and others. 

Speaking of which: most forms of depression spring from an obsession with self; an obsession with some dysfunctional, or painful part of self. Once we stop thinking about ourselves and only focus on serving others, we forget to be depressed, because we aren’t obsessing about what we should achieve, or what others think about us. We’re too busy helping someone else. That’s another way, I suppose, of changing behavior. 

For that matter, this blog is a coping mechanism for me to deal with my thoughts and emotions and I think it’s distracted me enough from work this week. It’s starting to move towards being dysfunctional. 

On that note my darlings, it’s time to stop writing. 

Image Source: https://za.pinterest.com/pin/507780926735953727/

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Filed under addiction, addictions, autism, autism spectrum, Behavior, drug addiction, Parenting, pathological demand avoidance disorder, pda, positive reenforcement, Psychology, Self-confidence, Self-esteem, Self-help, self-worth, Uncategorized

Maybe that night we make love till morning…

Sometimes we feel small and insignificant. Much like a tiny girl, walking up a massive mountain. We aren’t quite sure of where we are, or where we will end up. We have an idea of where we want to go – to the top – but the path is winding and we can’t always see the top – there is fog, trees and sometimes fires blocking the sight.

There are nights, when we are curled up by the fire watching a starry sky, and we feel calm and serene, and the path we are walking feels like the loveliest thing ever. Our muscles are tired after a day’s worth of climbing, in fact we are feeling tired through and through, but a good tired – we lived. We lived to the full and we are still buzzing, still filled with life and life force. We are almost giddy with excitement of all the wonders we have seen and are yet to see. Our eyes are still glazed with the beauty of butterflies catching the morning breeze underneath their wings, or the glorious sight of rainbows and waterfalls. Maybe a sudden thunderstorm filled us with power, with lust and then a gentle drizzle calmed our spirits shortly after, only to be followed by sunshine that made us laugh.

We may be sharing our camp fire with some exhilarating stranger we have met whose faces tell tales of faraway countries and adventures more fearful, more wild than we could ever imagine…or maybe adventures so sweet and lustful we can only dream of….and maybe, maybe one day achieve. Or maybe we are sharing the fire with gorgeous loved ones who are accompanying us on our journey and feel as familiar as our favorite spice.

Maybe the night is filled with laughter and excited whispers and tender words. Maybe children are playing and grown-ups smiling. And maybe, long after the kids have gone to bed, everyone is sharing tales that make our heart sing. Maybe we have found a boy whose eyes are sparkling in the moonlight and seemingly reflecting not just the moon, but our own soul, making us feel understood. Maybe for that moment it all makes sense – the search, the climb, the path that we are now on. Maybe that night we make love till  the morning.

At other times we are utterly lost – it’s raining, our knees are aching, we can’t see the top of the mountain – we are walking upwards, but we have no idea if we will ever reach the top, or at least find enough treasure to buy a fire that is always burning, a bottle that is always full, a bed that is always protected and love that is always tender. We are fearful, tired and soaked to our bones. We seek the light in our soul, the inner warmth, the love we know is hidden there, but the fear is overwhelming and the panic seemingly real as the night closes in on us and we shiver.

We  think about friends we have lost, lovers that crossed our path. We think about the chances we never took and those we should never have taken. We think about our own death and wonder where we will be then? Will we have reached the top? Or will we still be fearful and lonely?

We try to fight it, to be strong, but we only get angrier and angrier with ourselves when we do – because we are meant to be strong, right? We are meant to conquer the rain and walk with joy in our heart. We are meant to have learnt enough to find our way by the stars. We aren’t supposed to be lost, or lonely, or tired, or hungry. We are supposed to know better, be better.

Then, we give up. We remember what being truly tiny meant – what it was like being a child. When the world felt large and scary and we jumped up into our parents, or siblings laps and cried, or were just held tight. We were stil told that we were beautiful, that we were loved. No one gave up on us because we slipped and fell. They just hugged us better. We remember that it was OK then. OK to be lost and frightened and sooner, or later we found our way – whether by ourselves, or with the help of others. We felt tiny back then too. We felt scared back then too. But we weren’t angry with ourselves. We just were. We just allowed ourselves to be and somehow, somewhere, we always found the love we needed to find, the light to lit up the deepest night.

Then we take a moment to rest. We sink down, our back towards a cold fir-tree. The cold, suddenly intense against our back, awakens us. We look around. We see a tiny hare, followed by another tiny hare, looking out at us from underneath the bushes. We slowly reach out our hand. We are in desolate parts where man rarely walks and the hares have not yet learnt to fear us. We slowly look at them, as they are looking at us. In their eyes we see our own fear and trepidation reflected. We see curiosity and hope. We see warmth and love.

One of the hares slowly, slowly moves over, seeing whether to trust us. And then, with a final jump it is by our hand, sniffing it. Its nose feels warm against our cold skin. It keeps sniffing around, then suddenly jumps up, into our lap, and looks at us with big eyes. The other hare now follows, carefully, but bravely, seeing the success of its fellow friend. And then, you have them both in your lap, sharing their warmth, their lives with you.

Everywhere the rain is drizzling, turning the wood into a hazy, almost surreal place. The raindrops glisten in the final hour of dusk and the sun is making one last effort to shine through, turning everything golden. You feel a little warmth from it against your skin and the hares’ body heat radiating through your clothes, into your stiff, frozen bones. For a moment you are sharing your life with two other creatures, like yourself, trying to stay warm, find food, love and happiness. You are helping each other, understanding one another. Suddenly life has conquered and you once again feel calm – inside a new dawn has awoken.

You feel fresh. Every part of you has been shaken – you have been lost and you are still lost, but inside you have found the light. You know that as night comes rolling in you will eat some food that strengthen your body and find peace in your dreams. You will then awaken with the sun and move towards new horizons. Maybe with some furry friends by your side.

It is impossible to know if we will ever reach the top of any mountain. Life is an adventure and as such, we know that there will be struggle, there will be loss, but what will always save us is our own life force, our own love of that which surrounds us, that which we do and those whom we love, including ourselves.

We will continue to get lost and we will continue to get found. Storms will shake us and events move us. We will lose what we have found and move on to find love in unexpected places.

The best we can do is find our own heart, our own peace. We can never know what storm is coming next, or how far we will get the next day. We can only continue to move with a purpose in our heart, which gives meaning to our journey. We can continue to build love in our heart, which will strengthen us and keep us calm in the eye of the storm. We can surround ourselves by love, by doing what we love and taking time to build friendships with those we love, or those we think we will come to love. We can give of what we have, as well as our gifts, our talents, and share our lives with others.

We can love and with love always comes a treasure.

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Filed under Fairytale, Fear, Freedom, Friendship, Goals, Heart, Inspiration, Joy, Life, Love, Magic, Motivation, People, Personal Development, Psychology, Self, Self-help, Spirituality, Stories, Story, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing

Do you like whips and chains, or strawberry champagne???

Pastiersky bič

Whips...hearts...it's one big cocktail...

Did you ever think you were whips and chains to find out you are strawberry champagne? Or the other way around? Or maybe both? Did you ever doubt your desires, longings, passions, heart, intuition, love…and search in vain for an answer in the skies? In signs around you? In the treetops? In people’s dear opinions? In travels? In teachings? Only to find that the answer rested within your soul and your heart gently whispered it in your ear? But maybe you were too busy looking at some confusing fact, or telling yourself what should be right, or maybe staring yourself blind at the pretty sunset not daring to leave in search of the dawn you always dreamt of, or listening to some story (or five) you had already made up a year, or ten years ago?

Sometimes we fall in love with the person next door, because they happen to be the person next door. Sometimes we set up a lumber business because our neighbor happened to have a lumber business. Sometimes we, on the contrary, go all the way around the world only to realize that the person next door was the one we wanted and the lumber business was always our true passion…the rest was just a dream, an attraction set up because we ourselves were not fulfilled…basically: the fulfillment we sought in others needed to be found in ourselves for us to be able to see the gift that was always there, right in front of us, or next to us…or somewhere close by…

If we do not fulfill ourselves first, no kick outside of ourselves will ever be fulfilling, but we will keep wanting them (as the last one didn’t solve the problem either…we move onto the next…then the next…the bigger car, the prettier girlfriend…or just the different girlfriend…something new…something else…maybe then…) unless we first find satisfaction in our own heart and soul: then we can find the real deal. The passion, the person, the place…the whatever that complements us, rather than replaces something broken inside.

I believe that it is only when we set ourselves free – when we allow our minds (and sometimes our bodies) to travel all around the world, without fear, completely free of whatever it is we have been telling ourselves, or have been told by others – that we can know what we want.

It’s comfortable for us to know that the person that makes our cup of tea when we get home, cuddles us when we are lovesick, laughs at our jokes and talk to us every day is there every day. It’s uncomfortable knowing it’s not them you have felt the greatest love and respect for, or connected the most with.

It’s equally uncomfortable knowing that the adventure for which you left the person who loved you, was nothing more than a castle in the sand – the real deal, the one made of stone, was the one you had. The one you took for granted. The one that was built on love, rather than excitement. The one that you did not believe in as you did not know yourself – you were the one not ready for the real deal. You were the one still searching for the broken piece of you to get fixed…the one thinking that lay outside you. This was the relationship you should have put the excitement into by being present, loving and wild.

Some invest years in education, or working their way to the top of a company, only to realize that their true passion is something else…something which leads them to start all over from scratch. To finally go on the adventure they always kept locked in their heart. To finally be free. Be who they are.

Yet others leave a company only to find out that it was them, not the company that lacked passion. They needed to rekindle their soul, their love, their passion and come back with a different outlook – a different tactic for dealing with things.

Sometimes things, people, events, businesses are right for a period, sometimes for forever. Life is not at standstill – if we stand still things evolve and we get left to start over on our own and if we evolve, well then things either evolve with us, or we move ahead to new pastures. Even if we fucked up the best ever deal, the best ever relationship, the best ever whatever: if we evolve, soon the best ever will be that much better!!!

It happens ever so often we come to a crossroad – we have been forced to choose. We can choose to ignore the new path that has crossed our way, or we can follow it. And sometimes, the new path is the old path. I had to make that choice in LA – to stay, or to leave – and let me tell you: it was scary. I have no greencard. I have no ticket back. I had to choose. I had to follow my heart. It took me six months to make that choice, even if friends tell me I made it way before then…if so it took me six months to dare to follow that choice. Maybe I needed that. Maybe that was just the preparation to be had. Life threw me a few events that helped solidify my decision. Who knows? All I know is first I had to get to know myself (my stories) and separate heart from illusions…different pulls, different wants, different needs…from that core intuition. And maybe I was wrong…I cannot judge…but it feels right. And that feeling of right makes me feel at peace….free….calm. Makes me…happy.

Home is where the heart is, so is love, business and life. First we find our heart, then we find our home.

Champagne, anyone???…

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This doesn’t need a sexy headline…

Jules Cheret, Moulin Rouge, 1890 Art Nouveau p...

Spectacle magnifique...

So here’s a real confession and maybe I shouldn’t blog about this because it feels way too personal and real and painful and embarassing…but the truth is that I swore to share how I feel, so that others could stop being afraid of how they feel and dare to be themselves. So here’s me, being myself. And maybe I’ve said it all before in different ways, but sometimes things hit you straight in the face and…feels more real, more tangible than before…and much, much more silly…

You know when you feel small and insignificant and silly and stupid? Like when the guy you thought was Mr Right starts flirting with the girl to your left? Mhm. And you want to cry. You feel trampled upon, angry, sad, furious…but if you are anything like me, you choose a pair of heels that are one inch higher, a skirt that is one inch shorter, you nail the business deal, you walk with swagger and you make sure you outdo yourself in just about everything. Suddenly you are confidence itself: your voice is louder, your jokes funnier and you look better than you did age 16. You seek attention and you get it. You lap it up like a cat laps up cream. You are licking your wounds, trying to stop them from bleeding and the praise from others sort of cover the worst of it. Works as some sort of band-aid, but the wound is still there. So you make your shell a bit tougher to protect it. And through it all you may gain some more confidence, because your skills grow. You become more comfortable being you, because you are determined to kick ass – to create something for yourself. You may even move beyond that to realize that you are fine no matter what – so if the world falls on your head and you amount to nothing in this life, you will survive and you will laugh. You are happy. You let go of everything and suddenly, as if by magic, you make great friends, business blossoms and it all seems to come together effortlessly, but your heart, when it comes to love, is closed. You date people who either aren’t interested, or aren’t interesting to you, or have their hearts as closed as yours. You have blossomed into the person you always wanted to be, but your heart…your heart is crying for your attention. As soon as it senses love, feelings for someone, you tell it to shut up and you get ready to fight; to prove something… The area around the heart has grown tough and hard, rather than warm and open. When you date you try to prove your worth instead of your love. Your love you do not wish to show to anyone, because what if? What if they won’t like you? What if your love is like this sticky nasty thing that they just feel suffocated by? What if you can’t be loved? What if you are just like doomed not to be loved? Maybe you can be sexy and gorgeous and hot and great to everyone, but the ones you love? Maybe you totally lose confidence when it comes to love? Like you were fine up until that moment. You really felt you lived a magical, wonderful life, as the happiest most confident cat in the block no matter what and then…one look and you lose it all. Or one feeling, should I say. One intense, true feeling and you are reduced to a heap on the floor. An unsexy doormat. A shivering piece of jelly. And of course you picked a guy who wasn’t interested in supporting you, loving you till you recover and walk with swagger. He wanted the confident cocky little thing he met on the first date. And to cover up the jelly like doormat feeling inside you put on the whole charade, the whole show all over again…and the show would be REAL and true to you, if it wasn’t for the fact that it was fueled by fear…because it really is you and you really do love it all, it’s just your intentions behind it aren’t free…clean, fueled by love, what have you. You aren’t doing it with an open heart. You use little tricks to impress instead of sharing your joy, your heart. And what if those people you date only want that A-list something instead of your heart? That vulnerable soft thing inside that really aches? What if they knew all your fears and paranoias and your bad moments and your bad breath and the fact that you aren’t always the hottest, smartest, funniest person on the planet? What then? Would they still love you? Or did you maybe attract the ones that only wanted what you showed off as that was what they were looking for and not that soft spot inside that actually is very warm and loving and caring and extremely…gooey? Like lovey dovey romantic silly? Maybe that Agent Provocateur thing was just a cover and the real you is more like a crazy burlesque show at the Moulin Rouge, with an added twist of magic? Maybe you aren’t a sharp business woman, but rather a dreamy artist who loves business? Maybe you are just you and that you is aching to come out? And maybe instead of wanting a nicer dress, a higher paying job, a fitter body and a new sex trick, you’d want to open the doors to your heart and just dare to be? As you are…loving…open…soft…

Truth is: I am what I am and no matter what skills I acquire  and how good I get at something, I will always be me. Either you love me as much when I’m lying in bed and shaking from fever as you do when I stand on stage in a mini-skirt, cracking jokes, or you don’t love me at all.

My heart is gonna get to run free from now on. I’ve treated it bad enough through the years. From now on it will be allowed to love as much as it pleases. It will be allowed to sing for joy for no reason. To shiver from sorrow and break when it gets hammered upon. It will be fine, because as long as I allow it to love, it will always heal. It will always feel good by the end of the day when there is love flowing freely, even when it’s aching.

Hearts were made to love. To make love. To give love. To love endlessly and forever. It really is that simple and frightening…and liberating and healing and joyous and wonderful…and loving… Here’s to our hearts!!!

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Beautiful you…

I love flowers

Dare to stick your neck out...into the flower field...

Knock, knock, who’s in there? Will you come out? Will you show me the beautiful you? Will you share your love and laughter with the world today? Hiding in the shadows doesn’t bring much light to your eyes. Walking in the sunshine makes your skin sparkle and your eyes twinkle with delight.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been a master at hiding. Since age nine, or so, I remember walking in roundabout ways to avoid people I thought would rather not see me. I remember locking myself into my room to avoid my step family. I remember looking down when a cute guy passed my path in fear of rejection. I remember feeling like a burden; an unwanted piece of something, that was better off hiding so as not to disturb others.

To this day I sometimes still retract; hide in a corner. Frightened that my company is unwanted; a burden on someone else. I don’t dare to open up and show the beauty that is me. I don’t dare to give.

If you aren’t sharing the light that is truly you. If you aren’t showing off your talents, your smile, your gorgeous, gorgeous laughter, you are doing the world, not to mention yourself, a disfavor.

The world is not here to judge you – the world is here to love you.  The world is not here to put you down – the world is here to enjoy you. The world is not here to punch you in the face – the world is here to fall in love with you. You see though, the tricky thing is for the world to enjoy you, they have to see you. For the world to receive your gifts, you have to give them. For the world to laugh at your jokes, you have to tell them. For the world to hear your stories, you have to share them. For the world to fall in love with you, you have to fall in love with the world.

And if you want for someone else to open, you have to love them open. Like a flower opens to the sun, humans open to love. That doesn’t mean there can’t be boundaries and discipline and telling someone right from wrong, that too is love, but without love all is empty. Without love we all close up. And so, you also have to love yourself open, so that you can see the beautiful you. So that the world gets a chance to enjoy you and you get a chance to enjoy the world.

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If you ever…this is for you… (to the unsung heroes of bad first time sex…)

Congressional Gold Medal awarded to Navajo Cod...

Congrats!!

Did you ever have bad first time sex? Or spilled a drink on the first date? Did you ever fail an exam? Or got fired? Did you ever screw up? Then this one is for you…

I think we deserve gold medals for the disasters we have endured. Everyone who makes it to the top gets praise, but isn’t it when we are at the bottom that we need some motivation? Someone telling us that we are gold worthy? The fact that we managed to survive whatever trauma (like spilling coffee all over the potential to-be boss’ Armani suit) makes us gold worthy in an instant. Last time I went for an interview, someone complimented my high heels just as I got caught up in them. I literally stumbled whilst saying “Thank you.” Not to mention first time sex…ever tried getting stuck in mousetraps? And that was probably the best first time sex I ever had…I’m a natural disaster. If first impressions last I’m doomed to becomming a spinister unless I start preaching no sex before marriage.

It’s so easy to praise people who do well and they sure as hell deserve the praise, but so do all of us that are trying to sort out one area, or other, of our lives. Maybe you need to hear that you shouldn’t make that same mistake again (do not walk into a dark room when there are mousetraps lying around), but what you need is faith that next time you will do better and that you have the capacity to do just that. That you are a shining star. To hear that you are an idiot, whom should have known better and that these patterns of not thinking before you act really are so harming your life and shouldn’t you have learnt by now…well, that just crushes your spirits.

Sometimes I want to escape some areas of my life. Like my love life. I don’t have a smashing past. But as soon as I think about that, it reinforces it. To change my present, I need to change my thoughts around it. I am not addicted to players…I am addicted to loving, caring men, who truly love me and show up for me. I have a great heart, that will know when the right men arrive. I have faith in my innate knowledge to know whom to trust.

They say a tiger doesn’t change its stripes, but I have changed mine a hundred times, or more, only because I started believing I was someone else and acting from that place. I had a belief I was that person. I had a belief I deserved to be that person.

You have to find that place inside of you, that healthy place, where you are whom you want to be and act from that place. Not from a place of lack, or fear, but from a place of abundance. Of joy. Of love. Of faith.

The best gift you can give someone is faith in themselves. An ability to love themselves. So go on then: sprinkle some praise on the peeps in your life. It doesn’t cost a dime, but it breeds miracles.

This is for the unsung heroes of everyday life. Those of us who fight, but don’t always win. Those of us that need a hug, a cuddle, a sprinkle of love and a sincere belief that we can do what we most wish to do. That we have the capability to be whom we choose. Let’s face it: if you survived all that, you are destined for greatness, because you are already a hero, a survivor of the fight.

P.S. Hey, by the way, I like you for all the smiles you’ve shared and all the joy you’ve brought to this world.

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The Dalai Lama…

Gendun Drup, 1st Dalai Lama

Image via Wikipedia

“We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.” – Dalai Lama. I think the man has a point (no, really? The Dalai Lama???…) We grow our businesses, we grow our social networks, we grow our bank accounts…but do we grow our affection for friends, family and lovers? Do we sit down to think about how we can build our relationships? How we need to be loved? How we can love more?

“I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my own limited experience I have found that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life. Since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. The key is to develop inner peace.” I have said this before, but when our focus shifts from what people think about us, what we want from them, to what we can give them our own fear of judgment (ego) subsides and we experience the person and relationship in a new light. There is also a lot of fulfillment in the act of giving. I keep wondering: if we were all brought up to save the world, rather than to think about the “perks” we want…our own personal success…what would the world look like? Where would our focus be? On peace, on material wealth for all, on great health, on solutions… Now it’s a lot about Porsches…about “look at what I achieved for me.”

“In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.” “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” To bear this in mind when we are angry, sad, frustrated, upset…who is it we want to be? Never mind the other person – WHO ARE WE? How do you want to see yourself? How do you act FROM THAT PLACE??? And how do you look after YOUR TEMPLE?

“As human beings we all want to be happy and free from misery… we have learned that the key to happiness is inner peace. The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions such as anger, attachment, fear and suspicion, while love and compassion and a sense of universal responsibility are the sources of peace and happiness.” What do you do every day to feel peace and happiness? And how do you change all other emotions to peace and happiness? Do you allow yourself to go off on tangents just because you get an adrenaline/testosterone kick, or do you bring yourself back to peace and happiness asap?

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” What actions do you take on a daily basis that make you happy? Which actions would you love to take?

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” When we blame, when we yell and scream at others…where does it come from?

“Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace.” What small pains, annoyances and disturbances are you ignoring? What little thorns do you need to deal with to make you happy? To make your relationships happy? To make your business/career thrive?

“If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.” I realized this one day when I was thinking of my fear of illness and death (my mom died from cancer in her thirties) – whatever happens I will live through it…so I might as well just be happy in the process! Where you put your focus determines you happiness to a large extent. For example: the other day I got upset about my knee. I can’t really go running that often anymore and as soon as I stand up for days in a row, it goes wonky. So I started despairing, because I wanted to go running and in my head a I saw a scenario of not being able to go jogging for forever. But either I can think of that, or about all the blessings in my life. After all, I can still run. I can still walk. I can still dance!!!!!!!!!! I live a blessed life.

“If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others. You will not be able to love others. If you have no compassion for yourself then you are not able of developing compassion for others.” “With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.” So many times you meet people who want to have many things in life only to prove they are worth something, instead of finding their inherent worth. Whether they need to have a new hottie by their side every day, or win a prize for their abilities…the path becomes about proof of worthiness rather than love.

“To be aware of a single shortcoming within oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in somebody else. Rather than speaking badly about people and in ways that will produce friction and unrest in their lives, we should practice a purer perception of them, and when we speak of others, speak of their good qualities.” We all need to analyze and understand things at times and we may speak of our process, but one needs to remember that whatever one says it will color other people’s perception of the world. To say you want a happy relationship, or a happy career…I believe you have to understand that first you need to find the love in you, the love for others and the love for the path you now choose to walk.

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Dedication, motivation and all that…

Oftentimes in life when we want something we feel real good if we go after it with all our might. Like we are doing the right thing if we put every ounce of our being into figuring it out. We have been taught that if we fight we win. I want to disagree a tad. I believe that you have to put your mind, heart and spirit into it 100%. This is essential for anything you wish to succeed in. The difference lies in not getting blinded by your passion, your goal, what have you.

Many people give up their health to get successful in business, or their business to be successful in love, or whatever it is they think they need to sacrifice. How many people do not stay up late, eat crappy take-aways, miss time with friends and skip exercise and meditation, just so as to work more? I know I used to feel bad as soon as I wasn’t working. If you do that though you allow a part of you to suffer. A part that would otherwise have fueled the rest. I believe our full potential lie in achieving not just one part of our life, but every part.

So many times I have gotten too eager about something and rather than doing something else before making a business decision, or sleeping before replying to an email, or simply re-reading an agreement before agreeing, I have closed the deal then and there. Somewhere I have known it wasn’t right and I would see things clearer if I allowed perspective (meditating, going for a walk, sleeping on it, exercising, taking a break, having a proper meal…), but I was just so into it, so full speed, that I allowed myself to make mistakes. Either the hunger, the want, my excitement, or the idea that if I didn’t “pour my all” into it, got in the way.

When we let our force lose, rather than use it, it often has a mind of its own. Your force is at its best when you learn to play with it to your advantage. You often gain focus by stepping back to gain perspective and by fueling your mind, body and spirit to make it clear. …and as always…pouring love into the cocktail…

 

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